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“Ours is an environmentally safe solution and hence we expect its market to grow”
In a conversation with Sustainability Outlook, Mr. Yousef Yousef, CEO of LG Sonic shares his thoughts on how MPC-Buoy is an environmentally friendly solution for online monitoring and maintenance of the water bodies through elimination and control of algae
MPC-Buoy is a relatively new technology, can you share with us how it works and what is its applicability?
MPC-Buoy is a path breaking technology for controlling and eliminating algal growth from wide variety of water surfaces. This technology is applicable on large bodies of water. It can be used for lakes, ponds, drinking water, irrigation and cooling reservoirs, etc. Warm temperatures and nutrient content in water bodies during summer season makes the reproduction of algae conducive, causing algal bloom, which in return hampers the quality of water. It is already known that ultrasound is an effective way to control algae but through rigorous research we deduced that ultrasonic treatment needs to be adjusted on the basis of various parameters and type of algae. The MPC-Buoy is hence unique as it is a solar powered platform that monitors, predicts and regulates the algal bloom through ultrasound technology. It eliminates as much as 90% of the current algae and inhibits further algal growth; it also helps in lowering the TSS and pH level without impacting the local environment.
After every ten minutes vital parameters like Chlorophyll a, Phycocyanin, Turbidity, Dissolved Oxygen, pH, Redox and Temperature are monitored and transmitted to web based software for analysis. The real time data is analysed and depending on the analysis, the ultrasonic program is altered according to these parameters and algae type.
The MPC-Buoy is hence unique as it is a solar powered platform that monitors, predicts and regulates the algal bloom through ultrasound technology
What are the key drivers for use of this technology?
Our technology is very effective in dealing with the problem of algal bloom and at the same time is entirely environmentally friendly and economically viable. The device uses low power in the range of 5-20 Watt, therefore no high voltages is transmitted into the water and hence it is entirely safe for fishes, plants, zooplanktons and insects. The technology can be used for large water surfaces and unlike other algal control systems which call for power to be provided from the shore, it is self-sustaining and is powered using renewable solar energy. The device is easy to assemble and install and additionally it is equipped with automatic cleaning and hence does not require much maintenance. Maintenance twice a year and check for calibration once in a year is sufficient.
As you mentioned it is widely applicable environment friendly solution for controlling algal bloom, so what according to you are the major challenges or barriers to its adoption?
MPC-Buoy is a very new technology and hence not many people know about it. Moreover, building trust for a new technology in the market is a gradual process, as most of the potential customers either lack information about it or are not sure about experimenting with a new technology. Hence, lack of knowledge and trust is one major challenge for adoption of this technology.
Who are your target customers and which are the geographies of focus?
Both government bodies and companies, who work in the water and energy markets, like which provide cooling systems are our target customers. Currently, North America, South America and parts of Europe are our regions of focus. We have also ventured into Singapore and eventually also intend to expand further and look at opportunities in India and China, as the technology is highly relevant to these parts of the world.
What is the market potential of this technology and who are your major competitors?
The market potential of this technology is more than USD 1billion. Our technology is very unique as no other control system provides real time monitoring, also our technology is applicable on large water surfaces and hence and hence on large water surfaces we don’t have much of a competition. The MPC-Buoy has a range of 500m in diameter and the four ultrasonic transmitters ensure complete ultrasound coverage of 360 degrees. Chemical treatment is definitely an all-time competition but ours is an environmentally safe solution and hence we expect its market to grow.
How does MPC-Buoy fare viz-a-viz chemical treatment?
I would like to site a case study of a 2 km lake in America. The lake had a major problem of algae and 4 MPC-buoys were installed to cater to the problem. Typically, copper sulphate was used to treat the algae. The payback period for this chemical is nearly about 1.8 years, while based on the cost of the equipment and savings the payback period for the buoys was estimated to be less than two years. Hence, one saves on the cost of chemicals by using the buoy. Moreover, it is the most appropriate solution to the problem because it is absolutely safe for the environment.